Letters to the editor Feb. 17

Call for action!
Dear Editor,
Don’t let the village council ignore what our community wants!
The Ortonville Village Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m., Feb. 21 at the Township Offices, 395 Mill St., Ortonville (the building behind the Village Pub). One of the purposes of this meeting is to receive feedback from the village attorney on current proposed non-domesticated animal ordinance (chicken) and enforcement.
The following examples of proposed regulations will not allow our families to keep their chickens:
1) Coop must be a minimum of 100 feet from all property lines;
2) Chicken owner must have signed written permission from all surrounding neighbors.
Who owns that big of a property downtown? And, what happens when your neighbors move and the new neighbors don’t agree with your chickens?
This will probably be one of our last opportunities to convince the village council that raising chickens in the downtown of Ortonville is a positive, community experience.
Chickens will be first on the agenda. Even if you have no urge to own chickens, do you want to allow the village council to pass an ordinance requiring homeowner’s neighbors deciding if they can have pets?
If you feel compelled to voice your opinion on your rights as a homeowner, I urge you to attend the meeting and speak out. The agenda will allow each resident 3 minutes for public comments.
If you are unable to attend the meeting you can email or write a letter to the village council, but please voice your opinion for our community! The more people show up at this meeting the bigger statement we make!
Brenda Timmermans
(In response to The Citizen asks: “What makes your marriage work?,” The Citizen Feb. 10, page 2)
Thanks for sharing
Dear Editor,
I enjoyed the “What Makes Marriage Work?” feature in The Citizen, seeing the pictures of the young, smiling faces at the beginning of their lives together. The couples answered the question differently: some cited love, laughter, God, some said communication is the key. Each marriage was successful in its own unique way. Thanks to the couples for sharing.
Bonnie Beltramo
(In response to DTE crews spark outage, The Citizen, Feb. 10, page 1)
Power out thank you
Dear Editor,
I would like to thank Lisa and Doug Short for coming to my aide during the power outage on Feb. 6, 2018. They helped me get up, gave me food, flashlights and heat. I could never thank them enough.
Alice Churchill
To start your day
Dear Editor,
“Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.” -Yoko Ono
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” -Normal Vincent Peale
“Look at all your surroundings and be grateful for what you have. Billions of people live in the world with a whole lot less.” -Ken Davis Sr.
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” -Carol Burnett
“You are what you put in your mouth and digest. Work hard at eating healthy and stay well.” -Ken Davis Sr. Have a great day.

Ken Davis Sr.

Go band
Dear Editor,
Ortonville, Brandon and Groveland Communities—on behalf of our Brandon Band Boosters and our Music Directors Matt Pagel and Russ McMartin, the executive board would like to thank all of our community, the Brandon School District Board/staff and the various businesses that have supported our fundraising efforts to foster excellence and ensure the continuation of our music program within the Brandon School District over the past four years. Our members, parents of both middle and high school aged students have volunteered countless fundraising hours to purchase music, instruments, equipment, uniforms, music, supplies, specialized instrumental instruction for our students and cultural trips to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Chicago. We couldn’t have done this without the support of you.
Thank you for supporting our students in the Brandon School District music programs and we look forward to seeing you at our one of our upcoming events, located at the high school performing arts center: May 1, Ice Cream Social; May 3, Ice Cream Social rain date; May 17, Spring Concert (High School Bands); May 22, Spring Concert (Middle School Bands); May 28, Memorial Day Parade and October 2018 – 11th Annual Marching Band Invitational (Date TBD) Enjoy over 15 high school marching bands from all over the state competitively perform at the Brandon High School Stadium.
Michael J. Donnellon, Jr., past president/publicity chairman, Brandon Band Boosters
(In response to, Drivers close to students, a letter by Andrew Shahin, The Citizen, Feb. 10 page 11.)
Review of school expenses needed
Dear Editor
I would like to thank Andrew Shahin for his wonderful reply to the superintendent’s letter regarding outsourcing the transportation department as a cost savings for the Brandon School District. Mr Shahin, I am probably not the only taxpayer who appreciates your honesty and research into district comparisons. The $212,479 salary for our superintendent is for total compensation including benefits, with a supposed $133,346 base. I am shocked that the tax payers are funding his retirement to the tune of over $43,000 per year! Many citizens who are paying taxes to this district are lucky to get a 4 percent match to their 401K contribution, let alone the 32.26 percent straight contribution that seems to be allocated for our local superintendent. By the time you factor in the one week of non-productive time and the extra $5,000 evaluation incentive (who voted for that?), his annual $133,346 income becomes over $140,000 by year end, not even $10,000 less than Clarkston’s superintendent who oversees a district much larger than ours.
The Brandon district has had recent decreases in enrollment, has closed schools, and is now selling schools for a fraction of the cost of new construction. Why, then, do we have so much cash still going to multiple administrators? I agree with Mr Shahin, outsourcing these top paying positions would surely be further from the students than the proposed transportation cuts that are now in deliberation. They would also likely result in a bigger savings to the district. This community is overdue for critically reviewing the expenses of the district and getting involved in how our tax dollars are spent. As it was stated to me at a school board meeting by then-president Mclellan, the district was pursuing the recent sinking fund to obtain more money because they had previously cut unnecessary expenses. It was specifically stated that “We have already picked the low-hanging fruit.” For the sake of our community and our children, maybe we need to look at the bountiful fruit up top.
Tonia Maxson
(In response to, County park to open this spring, The Citizen, Feb. 3, page 1)
Township park
Dear Editor,
I just wanted to congratulate Genesee county, Atlas Township and the Poulos family on the acquisition of the township’s first county park! Having a little experience in land conservation I realize how difficult it can be to coordinate efforts and funding from the different agencies that are involved.
I also wanted to express my viewpoint that not only is park land important for wildlife, flood control and drinking water protection, it also can be a money saving alternative to municipalities. According to various studies by the Trust for Public Land, park land may in fact save communities over the long term for many reasons. These reasons range from health care savings for individuals walking in them to the increase in property values of land adjacent to them. Park land has also shown to attract businesses that select communities with easy access to the outdoors.
Once again congratulations on the new park, and the efforts have not gone unnoticed by those who care about open space.
Thomas Pytel